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April 25, 2018
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Historic District to update walking tour brochure

By Tia Lyons
This article was published January 12, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

The El Dorado Historic District Commission is working to update the walking tour brochure that highlights historical sites in Downtown El Dorado.

Discussion about the project began nearly 18 months ago when Elizabeth Eggleston, executive director of the commission, said the supply of brochures had almost run out.

In 2017, the EHDC was awarded a state grant to fund the project, and commissioners have said they are ready to get the project under way.

On Thursday, commissioners pored through the latest edition of the brochure, which was last reprinted in 2014, and noted changes they would like to make.

Commissioners have said the new brochures should reflect modern amenities that are now part of the city’s commercial historic district, including the Murphy Arts District.

Eggleston said she spoke with Bob Tarren, chief marketing officer of MAD, to get photos and a description of the Griffin Restaurant and Griffin Music Hall on Locust.

The Griffin would be the 17th building to be included on the brochure.

Verbiage for the Rialto Theater should also be updated since the facility is part of Phase 2 of the development of the new arts and entertainment district, commissioners said.

Eggleston noted that MAD will be expanding and renovating the facility into another performance venue for the district.

Some photos, including those of the El Dorado Federal Center and First Presbyterian Church, should also be updated.

Commissioners agreed to keep references to the historic Hamburger Row and B.W. Reeves building in the brochure.

Eggleston said there had been previous suggestions to remove the references because Hamburger Row — a mix of shanties, cheapmeal joints and barrelhouses that served prostitution and gambling in the 300 - 500 blocks of South Washington during the city’s oil boom days in the 1920s — no longer exists.

Additionally, the original facade of the B.W. Reeves building, now Macfarlane Co-USA LLC, 116 N. Washington, has been significantly altered.

Eggleston previously said the owner of the B. W. Reeves property expressed interest in keeping the building in the brochure.

Commissioners said copy for Hamburger Row could be shortened, and one of two Hamburger Row pictures removed to accommodate additional properties.

Eggleston said the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society logo could also be removed from the back page of the brochure to make even more room.

She explained that the SAHPS helped to fund the 2014 reprinting and assisted with the design.

Eggleston said an initial quote of $2,963 was included in the grant application, and she will check on an updated quote.

“We want to try to get 10,000 printed. They’re out at (El Dorado) City Hall, the (El Dorado-Union County) Chamber of Commerce and the (Arkansas) Welcome Center,” she said.

Commissioner Dick James advised commissioners to be mindful of how and where the brochures are distributed to avoid waste.

Eggleston previously said the brochure is a popular item, not only with visitors, but also with El Dorado natives who return home for family and class reunions.

COAs

Commissioner Jon Robbins reported that BancorpSouth had withdrawn a previous Certificate of Appropriateness application for plans to include new signage at its drive-through location at 101 E. Cedar.

Robbins, who is vice-president/mortgage loan officer at BancorpSouth, said the bank decided to allow the existing signage to remain “for now.”

Commissioner Teresa Golliher, said the commission is expected to hear at least two COA requests in February.

One will be for a rooftop patio on the building 313 E. Main, for which a COA was approved in December to renovate into a single-family residential unit.

The other will be for a fenced, secured parking area to improve safety for court staff in the El Dorado Federal Center, 101 N. Jackson.

The secured area would be set up on the east parking lot, and the U.S. Marshals Service requested the COA.

COAs are required for most exterior projects within the commercial historic district.

Vacancy

Commissioners are also working to fill a vacancy.

Eggleston said Ann Trimble, a property owner within the commercial historic district, has been tapped to fill one of two vacancies.

Trimble, who attended the EHDC meeting Thursday, will appear on the agenda for appointment at the next El Dorado City Council regular meeting on Jan. 18.

Another opening is available.

Anyone who is interested in serving on the commission may request an application by calling City Clerk Heather McVay at 870-881-4877 or sending an email to Eggleston at elizabetheggleston@sbcglobal.net.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or by email at tlyons@eldoradonews.com.

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